The Fourth Of July was always a big weekend for East Moline, Illinois, resident Jone Knapton.
In 2003, Kone was busy working on a project for his work and told her daughter maybe there was a better time for her to visit, according to KWQC. Her daughter, Nicole Rasmussen, wanted to bring her boyfriend home and show him the festivities along the Mississippi River.
The project was never finished, and the trip home was for all the wrong reasons.
On July 6, 2003, Knapton, 47, was reported missing, according to Illinois State Police. Four days later, her body was found in the Green River in Henry County.
“Her job had actually put out a missing person’s report because they were concerned that she had failed to meet her end of the deal on the project,” Rasmussen said, according to KWQC.
A massive investigation unfolded involving several agencies. Police interviewed a dozen of people and followed up on hundreds of leads, according to Illinois State Police. But none led them to identify her killer.
Knapton’s sister, Cheryl Ashcraft, told KWQC that each year the case remains unsolved is difficult.
“It’s another year, and every year is hard,” Ashcraft told the news station. “You know, every year, we just hope that at some point, we’re going to get a resolution and an arrest. We’re just waiting for that right piece of evidence.”
Police told KWQC an autopsy could not determine how Knapton died, but it happened between July 4 and July 5. Her torso was found first in the river, then her legs. Several body parts have yet to be found.
There were no signs of forced entry or robbery at Knapton’s home, police said. The evidence led them to believe it was a targeted act. Knapton was going through a divorce when she was killed. Her husband, Larry Knapton, became a person of interest but hasn’t been charged.
A life insurance company sued Rasmussen and Larry Knapton over deciding who should receive Jone’s payout. The company claimed Larry was a suspect.
Police told KWQC that Larry remains a person of interest and if he would cooperate in the investigation, it would be a benefit. He has yet to fully participate in the investigation, police said.
“While I do hope that they do find the answer that they’re looking for, I’ve had to accept the fact that this is my life, and this has happened to me,” Rasmussen said.
Anyone with information on Knapton’s murder is asked to call police at (309) 752-4915.